Ok, a little bit of a trip report, a little bit of a birth story, some regrets, some emotional therapy for myself. Read on at your own risk. It was May 2002, my sister had been trying to become pregnant, and had sadly her firs pregnancy had ended in miscarriage in January. So, while shewas telling me that she didn't think she was pregnant again that month, it occurred to me, "Huh, I haven't had a period in awhile. Huh. Could I be???" So, my sister being very economical and forward thinking, had stocked up on pregnancy tests from Ebay. She had plenty, and it was decided that we would meet at my mom's house the next morning for said test. I don't recall if I had mentioned this to my husband or not. I would really think I did, but it's been awhile now, so who knows. I arrived at my Mom's and dutifully took the test, although I was quite sure that there was really no way it would be positive. I waited and then, checked. I immediately started crying and ran to show my Mom and sister and sister-in-law. It was positive, I was pregnant. Amazingly, I wasn't scared yet. I had a wonderful feeling that everything was going to be ok! We hugged we laughed, we cried. I called my husband. All was well with the world, I was going to have another baby!!!! A few days later, my world came crashing down around me. I started bleeding, just like the last three pregnancies. Just like with my little Quinn and Gavin. Also just like with Arminda, but of course I wasn't allowing myself to be hopeful that it would turn out as well as that. I was also cramping. I called my midwife, and she made me an appointment for the next day. My Mom and sister came over to be with me, and comfort me. We all knew I was losing the baby. The baby that had not been planned but was oh so wanted. Brian could not go with me to my appointment the next morning, so my sister went with me. We met at my Mom's house, where my Grandparents had just arrived from Florida. They had been living in Florida, and then visiting Michigan in the summer, but they were moving back now. I would get to see my Grandpa and Grandma so much more. My kids would get to know them, it was a good thing. Although, I worried that this little baby wouldn't be meeting them at all. We arrived at the appointment, and I knew, I just knew. Women know these things. The baby was gone. It was too much to ask for another baby. I had two, a boy and a girl. To hope for another was just greedy. So, I wasn't surprised when my midwife couldn't find the heartbeat. But wait! What??? Are you sure!!!???? Oh my gosh! How can this be? I hear it! STRONG AND LOUD! Like a little galloping horse! The baby is alive!!! I was SO happy! My sister was so happy! I couldn't believe it. I asked if there was still a chance that I could miscarry. I asked if we should still go on the Disney vacation we had planned for later that week. What my midwife said next might have seemed cruel to someone else, but to me, it is what I needed to hear. She said, "Teresa, if you are going to miscarry, it will happen no matter what you do. Go to Disney, have fun, try to relax." So, it was decided, I would go to Disney, and try to not worry. Right. Well, I might as well be in a happy place, right? When we arrived back at my Mom's (to pick up Arminda), we knew immediately that something was wrong. My Mom was crying. My first thought was that something had happened to my Grandpa. But, my mom hugged us both and told us that my cousin's little boy had fallen into their pool and drowned. My heart was torn, it was breaking for my cousin, and any joy I had had about my own baby was pushed aside. The funeral was planned for the day after we left for Florida. This is selfish, this was wrong, but I made a decision to go to Florida. I still feel horrible about that. But, right then, I knew it was the right decision for our family and this baby. As I was leaving, my Grandpa hugged me good-bye and said, "You watch those babies, you watch those babies." I promised him that I would and that I told him that I would see him when we got back from Florida. Here is one of my favorite pictures of my Grandpa. This was in 1996 while we were on vacation in Florida: So, we went to Florida. I was still bleeding. I was still scared to death. My entire family was grieving. I was grieving. But, I really needed to be at Disney right then.... for me, for our baby. We were on a timeshare tour, so we checked in, and were briefly scared that we would have to stay in a dumpy hotel when we were promised that we would stay on property (meaning on the timeshare property, not Disney property). We stayed on property. The condo was really nice, although I had to climb the stairs to get to the room. I guess I probably needed the exercise. And, the pool was quite a bit away from our room, like several blocks. But, the room was clean and big, and just really nice. After we arrived, I called my Mom to let her know we were there. She told me that my Grandpa had been taken to the hospital, but he seemed to be doing ok. I was a little concerned, but not too much. He had been in the hospital before and he was resilient, he was my Grandpa, nothing could happen to him. Especially not now. Not after everything else happening. We of course had to take "the tour" but it is amazing how those pushy sales people leave you alone when you tell them that you are unexpectedly pregnant. It was so easy we have considered using that as our standard excuse for not buying. (Just kidding, but it did cross our minds.) So, we were off to Disney World. We ate at Chef Mickey's. Arminda was upset because Mickey did not spend enough time with her. Actually, all of the characters seemed rather rushed that night. But, the food was pretty good, and it was still a lot of fun. Arminda and Donald Corey, Arminda, Minnie and a miscellaneous child: Corey trying to console Arminda because Mickey walked right by her: I walked around telling people that I was pregnant, but not really believing it. It still seemed that this pregnancy just wasn't going to work out. But, I tried to make myself believe it, and I kind of did. My Mom called and told me that she thought my Grandpa was doing much better. She said that the doctors didn't think he was doing as well, but she could see that he was doing better. He was eating, he was getting out of bed, he was joking around. So, I wasn't too worried. She also told me that my Grandpa's brother, her uncle had died. I was sad for my Mom and Grandpa, but I did not really know the uncle. Here is a picture of my Grandpa hugging his brother, I think this was the last time they saw each other. So, we continued on with our trip. We went to Animal Kingdom. I really love Animal Kingdom. I couldn't go on the safari, because of the jerkiness. I didn't want to do anything that might harm the baby. But, it is a lot of fun to just watch people. Which, I ended up doing a lot of. I've been to Disney pregnant before (7 months along with Arminda) so I knew what to expect. Let me just say this, the People Mover is way underrated! I personally love it. And, when you are pregnant, and that is the only moving thing you can go on, besides the monorail and the tram, it is pretty darn exciting! So, whilst Brian and Corey went on many rides, Arminda and I took it easy, on the People Mover, on the bench, etc... It was fun..... really. After a week, we went to our time share. Yes, in a stupid moment in 1997, we actually purchased one! It was a pretty good deal actually, only $2000. Which, wouldn't be bad, if it weren't for the maintenance fees we have to pay every year. Funny how they always gloss over that "little" expense. But, we really do like the place we stay. It's little, it's on a lake, and it's only a mile from Animal Kingdom. So, Brian gets to do a lot of fishing, and I can see the fireworks from the balcony on the upstairs level. It's a good thing. My Mom had been calling me daily with reports. The doctors said Grandpa would be going home the next day. Yeah!!! I knew he would be ok! Later that day though, my Mom called back. It seems that the doctors no longer felt Grandpa was doing ok, and they didn't think he was going to make it. However, my Mom didn't think he was doing very badly. He seemed to be improving. So, still, I was not that worried. We left for another Disney park the next day. We spent the day there, and had a great time. I don't remember what we did, but it we were at Disney World, so it had to be fun. I'm pretty sure it was the Magic Kingdom though: Arminda loved seeing Aurora, and I loved her blue dress! Arminda meeting Cinderella: And, I think this picture of Arminda hugging Cinderella is preciouos!! Arminda got picked to be in the parade by the chimney sweep: She is so tiny!!! (She was 4 on this trip) And, here are Brian and the kids with Mickey, I guess I was taking the picture?. The line was LOOONG to get in, but we stuck it out! And, lastly we road It's a Small World, and I snapped this adorable picture of Arminda and Brian as we were leaving. When we arrived back to the timeshare, I noticed that the message light on our phone was blinking. It was a message from my Mom, and she wanted me to call her back right away. I started crying, and I knew, while we were out having fun, my Grandpa had died. I wasn't going to get to spend time with him. The last words he said to me before we left would be the last words he ever said to me. I picked up the phone and called my Mom. She told me what I knew, Grandpa was gone. We both cried. She told me that she was there at the time. She told me that he had eaten all of his meals, and had even gotten up and shaved not long before he started failing. Apparently, he went pretty fast. She told me that there was talk of having the funeral fairly quickly. However, I asked her to please make sure we could get home first. She said she would try. Brian bought me these flowers This is bad, but secretly, I was hoping that they would plan the funeral for a time when I couldn't make it home in time. It just seemed like to much. If I didn't go to the funeral, it would almost be like he wasn't really gone, like he would be waiting for me when I got back, just like I told him. I would see him when I got back home. Thankfully though, they planned the funeral for when I could make it home. I was to distraught to drive, so Brian drove us straight through, the whole way. We left Florida at 6:00 Pm and arrived home at 10:00 AM. I'm still not sure how we did that. We have done it in 18 hours, but never 16. We took a nap, and woke up in time to make it to the visitation that afternoon. I was surprised that people were actually surprised that I had made it. I seemed to forget my own indecision about wanting to make it back. Once I was there, I knew there was no way I would have missed saying my final good-bye. People from our Kingdom Hall were at the visitation and it was a strange mix of sympathy (over Grandpa and my cousin) and congratulations (for my baby), that somehow felt right. I was all ready showing at this point, even though I was not very far along. People kept coming up and patting my belly. My cousin came up to me and told me that my baby was going to be very special to the family. I think that was the first time I really let myself believe that the baby was really going to make it. I felt that the baby HAD to be ok at that point. This family couldn't stand to lose anymore. Not one of Brian's family came to the funeral or the visitation. Eleven brothers and sister and not one showed up. Not a single one. Not even his parents after he called them and asked them to. They said no. The funeral was beautiful. My Grandma read a letter she had wrote. She mentioned my Quinn and Gavin and how her and Grandpa kept them in their prayers. My Uncle Arden sang a song, and when he was done, he reached his hand up and turned it in the air. Like he was turning a knob. My Grandpa owned a sawmill, and that was the signal he gave my Uncles to turn off the mill, the day was done. When my uncle did that, I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. It's been almost six years now since Grandpa died, and I still miss him. My little Lydia is now five, and she never got to meet her Great-Grandpa, but I know they will meet someday, in paradise. Lydia was ok, there was a scare right after she was born, but that's more of a birthstory than a trip report, and I'm probably pushing this about as far as I can as a trip report! Ok, as requested Some pregnancy pictures! This is me and my sister, Heather. Heather is in front, but you can still see my belly! (We were both pregnant) This is me and Brian right before Lydia was born. That's Heather's arm to the left and my Grandma's head to the right: This is Heather's face as they came out to announce that Lydia had been born! I love this picture!!! And, here is my little Lydia Rose held by her proud Daddy! Also, in the picture are my brother, David, and his wife Barbara. And her sweet little face: Aren't you sorry you asked for more pictures!